30 December 2008 Newz Bits

January 5, 2009 at 6:25 am Leave a comment

HIGHLIGHTS

On Malaysia
· YTL Corporation planning for a hospitality REIT
· Syarikat Perumahan Negara to spend RM700m to build homes in bid to spur economic activities
· Malaysia’s domestic bond issuance falls 11% this year to RM48bn
On The Global Front
· US retailers facing wave of store closings, bankruptcies and takeovers
· Hong Kong exports falls for first time in 5 months, in November

The proposed private low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT) to be built by Sime Darby Bhd (SIME MK, Buy, TP: RM7.30) for AirAsia Bhd (AIRA MK, Buy, TP: RM1.90) in Labu wil have a positive impact on TH Properties Sdn Bhd (THP), and boost its property values, said its chief executive officer Zaharuddin Saidon. He said the proposed LCCT would further increase accessibility and connectivity, both domestic and international, to its flagship RM9.2bn development at Bandar Enstek in Nilai, which will help boost demand of its various development components. Zaharuddin added that THP was already running out of land to accommodate the increasing demand for various projects within Bandar Enstek. For this reason, THP had, prior to this, initiated talks with Sime Darby Property to look into jointly developing their plantation land adjacent to Bandar Enstek such as Tanah Merah and Labu Estates. (FinancialDaily)
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The MMC-Gamuda (GAM MK, Buy, TP: RM2.85) joint venture submitted the development order application to the Seberang Prai Municipal Council last Friday, for the purpose of land acquisition for its electrified double track project. The development order process, covering a distance of 63km and 3 districts, had been on-going over the past few months. (The Star)
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YTL Corp Bhd (YTL MK, Buy, TP: RM8.00), intends to launch a second REIT in Malaysia with assets worth more than RM1bn when the market improves. The proposed REIT, which is still in the early stages of planning, will be a collection of luxury hotels and resorts under the YTL stable, executive director Datuk Mark Yeoh Seok Kah said. “We are looking at a hospitality REIT. The equity market now is going through a shake-up. We are studying the proposal and opportunities. We will consolidate our properties before planning the REIT,” he told Business Times in an interview in Kuala Lumpur. Yeoh did not indicate when the REIT might be launched, but ruled out next year. The REIT, to comprise more than three assets, will be bigger than the Starhill REIT, launched in 2005 and the biggest of its kind in the country then. (BT)
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It was reported last Saturday that steel producer, Perwaja Holdings Bhd (Perwaja) sees resilient demand for steel products going forward and plans to expand its existing product range through the development of new steel grades. It was said that the group plans to focus on research and development (R&D) to diversify its products and is on track to increase its annual production of direct reduced iron (DRI) to 1.8m tonnes. (StarBiz)
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Magna Prima Bhd (Magna) plans to build mid to high-end landed properties with estimated gross development value (GDV) of RM300m in the next 3 years. The move, which is a departure from Magna’s traditional high-rise housing market, is to meet the rising demand for super-link and semi-detached houses and bungalows based on the gated-and-guarded community concept. (StarBiz)
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Syarikat Perumahan Negara Bhd (SPNB), a Ministry of Finance-incorporated company, will spend RM700m starting next month to build homes in a bid to help spur economic activities. SPNB managing director Datuk Mohd Amin Mohd Salleh said the money would be used to build low and medium-cost houses as well as to rehabilitate housing projects abandoned by private developers. The RM700m has been allocated under the government’s RM7bn economic stimulus package. “We will start building in January, and all the money is to be spent in 2009 to help boost the economy,” Mohd Amin told The Edge Financial Daily. He said of the amount, RM200m will go towards SPNB’s Rumah Mesra Rakyat (RMR) scheme, RM300m to its Rumah Mampu Milik (RMM) scheme and RM200m for the rehabilitation of abandoned housing projects, which will see a total of 43,000 units being built or rehabilitated. The RMR scheme, open to all buyers, offers homes priced from RM35,000, while the RMM is a house ownership scheme for the lower income group. Under this scheme, one-third of the cost to build a house will come from the government’s Special Fund while the buyer pays the balance. (Financial Daily)
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Malaysia’s domestic bond issuance fell by almost 11% to RM48.63bn this year against RM54.63bn a year ago, according to preliminary data compiled by Bloomberg. Issuance in fourth quarter was affected badly, as only RM5.17bn from 70 deals was raised during the quarter, a 80.6% drop over the fourth quarter of 2007 when RM26.7bn from 108 deals was raised. (BT)
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It was reported on Sunday that employers in Kedah have notified the state labour department that it would be temporarily laying off some 1,429 workers from 17 factories there. Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam has said that up to December 25th, some 29,000 workers from the electrical and electronics sector have been retrenched. (The Star)
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Stocks fell Monday, closing lower on one of the final trading days of a dismal year, amid global tensions and downbeat corporate news. The DJIA settled down 32 points (-0.4%, close 8,483.9 pts). The S&P 500 retreated 0.4% (-3.4 pts, close 869.4) and the Nasdaq composite fell 1.3% (-19.9 pts, close 1,510.3). In currency trading, the dollar fell versus the euro and the yen. US light crude oil for February delivery rose US$2.31 to settle at US$40.02 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. (CNNMoney)
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US retailers face a wave of store closings, bankruptcies and takeovers starting next month as holiday sales are shaping up to be the worst in 40 years. Retailers may close 73,000 stores in 1H09, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers. Talbots Inc and Sears Holdings Corp are among chains shuttering underperforming locations. More than a dozen retailers, including Circuit City Stores Inc, Linens ‘n Things Inc, Sharper Image Corp and Steve & Barry’s LLC, have sought bankruptcy protection this year as the credit squeeze and recession drained sales. Investors will start seeing a wide variety of chains seeking bankruptcy protection in February when they file financial reports. (Bloomberg)
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Cutbacks on clothing, electronics and jewelry led US retail sales to drop as much as 4% this holiday season as consumers limited purchases to necessities. Spending was the lowest since MasterCard Advisors started tracking data in 2002. Consumers facing a recession, tightening credit and the highest unemployment rate in 15 years shortened their gift lists and spent less, resulting in holiday sales tumbling between 2% and 4%. (StarBiz)
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Oil prices rose above US$40 (RM140) a barrel yesterday, up nearly 8% on the previous session, after violence between Israel and Hamas served as a reminder of tensions that could threaten crude supplies from the Middle East. US light, sweet crude was up US$3.18 at US$40.89 a barrel by 1000 GMT, below a session high of US$42.20. London Brent crude rose US$3.24 to US$41.61 a barrel, after touching a session high of US$43.18 (Financial Daily)
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Oil prices may rebound to around US$100 (US$1 = RM3.48) per barrel between 2010 and 2015, International Energy Agency chief economist Fatih Birol predicted yesterday. Birol told an energy conference that he saw downward pressure on oil prices in 2009 but said he expected prices to move up again in 2010 with a recovery in the world economy. (Reuters)
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London house prices fell more than in any other UK region this year and probably will decline further in 2009 as the economy sinks deeper into a recession, Hometrack Ltd said. Residential property prices dropped 10.1% in the capital, more than the 8.7% average across the country, the property researcher said in a report yesterday. London house prices fell 1% in December alone, compared with a 0.9% drop across Britain. (Bloomberg)
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Hong Kong’s exports fell for the first time in five months in November, worsening the outlook for an economy already in a recession. Overseas sales declined 5.3% y-o-y to HK$231bn (US$29.8bn), the government said yesterday, after gaining 9.4% in October. Asia’s export-dependent economies are being battered by falling demand for electronics and textiles amid
recessions in the US, Europe and Japan. China plans to promote trade with Hong Kong by stepping up road and rail links with the mainland, Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang said this month. (Bloomberg)
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Japan’s industrial output dived at a record pace and core consumer inflation fell faster than forecast in November, putting the shrinking economy on course for a spell of deflation next year. The grim outlook could push the Bank of Japan to implement unorthodox monetary easing measures as it has little room left ot cut interest rates, after reducing them to 0.1% last week. (StarBiz)
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Vietnam has allowed South Korea’s Shinhan Bank and Malaysia’s Hong Leong Bank Bhd to set up fully-owned subsidiaries in the country, the central bank said in a statement yesterday. Shinhan Vietnam Bank will have registered capital of nearly US$100mn (US$1 = RM3.48) while Hong Leong Vietnam will have registered capital of almost US$60mn, the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) said in an online announcement. (AFP)
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26 December 2008 Newz Bits 31 December 2008 Newz Bits

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